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Patient time for test: 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Reliability of test results:
*Good but not as reliable as CT scans. Other tests, studies and clinical observations are necessary to establish a precise diagnosis.

Purpose of test:
*Determines whether jaundice is caused by a blocked bile duct or by liver disease.
*Screens for liver disease.
*Detects whether cancer has spread to the liver
. *Detects hematoma following an injury.
*Defines cold spots as tumors, abscesses or cysts.

Where test is performed:
*Commercial laboratory, hospital, doctor's office, outpatient or free-standing surgical facility.

Risks and Precautions:

Patient preparation:
*Don't eat any food or drink any liquid for at least 12 hours
before the test.
*Remove all clothing. Put on surgical gown.

Equipment used:
*Water-soluble lubricant
*Ultrasound equipment
*Oscilloscope screen

Description of test:
*You or a close relative will be required to sign a consent form after the procedure has been explained to you.
*Follow technician's instructons for positioning your body.
*You may be uncomfortable for short periods when you assume the positions the technician requests.
*You may also feel uncomfortable for a short while if small, enclosed space causes you discomfort.
*Water-soluble lubricant is applied to your skin.
*Technician guides a transducer, which may feel cold on your skin, over the area examined.
*Transducer sends an ultrasound beam, composed of very high-frequency soundwaves inaudible to the human ear.
*After passing through tissue, reflected soundwaves are converted into electrical impulses and displayed on a video screen for interpretation or photographing for later interpretation.
*In sincalide is injected to stimulate gallbladder contraction, you may experience some side effects, such as abdominal cramping, spasms of the anus or bladder, nausea, dizziness, sweating and flushing.

Activity after test:
*Resume normal diet
*Return to pretest activities right away

Time before test results available:
*Time before results are reported to the doctor or patient varies from a few minutes to a few days.

Normal values:
*No anatomical or functional abnormalities

What "abnormal" may indicate:
*Portal hypertension

Taking these drugs may affect test results:
*None expected

Other factors that may affect test results:
*Failure to fast overnight
*Bowel gas
*Dehydration of your body
*Barium from previous diagnostic tests
*Overlying ribs

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